(Anderson, SC). Julianne Westberry pled guilty on Thursday, October 16,  to the ill-treatment of animals in Anderson General Sessions Court. The Honorable Daniel Hall sentenced Westberry to 4 years suspended to 4 years of probation. She is to continue with mental health treatment and is restricted from having any animals.  

 

On June 18, 2014, the Belton Police Department received a call from an individual who had gone to Westberry’s residence at 306 Anderson Street in Belton to inquire about buying some furniture. This person knocked on the door and there was no response. At that time, the visitor noticed a strong odor and the presence of swarming flies and contacted law enforcement. When officers responded, they contacted the defendant by phone and she told them that she was out of town and there should be no one in the house except the cats. Based on the circumstances, officers entered the residence and observed a large number of dead cats in various stages of decomposition. There were others that were alive but appeared to be sick or diseased. In total, approximately 40 deceased cats were removed as well as 31 live cats which were seized by Animal Control. When questioned by law enforcement, Westberry stated that she had been operating a cat rescue and because of personal issues she had become overwhelmed with the large number of cats and found herself unable to care for them. She then decided to abandon both the cats and the residence.